Bukidnon SP to pass organic agriculture code

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/22 November) – The provincial board of Bukidnon is poised to pass the Organic Agriculture Code of Bukidnon this year, to mainstream organic agriculture in the province, according to the draft of the proposed ordinance sponsored by provincial board member Ranulfo Pepito.

Pepito, who chairs the provincial board’s committee on agriculture, said they are recommending the urgent approval of the ordinance “to protect and advance the right of the small and disadvantaged farmers to food security, sustainable livelihood and social equity in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.”

Pepito told MindaNews Friday after the committee hearing that Bukidnon will become the first in Northern Mindanao to pass such ordinance to protect its advantage in agriculture.

Among the key features of the ordinance, which us pursuant to Republic Act 10068 or the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010, is the fixed budgetary support for organic agriculture from the local government unit.

The P5-million fixed budget to be taken from the general fund of the provincial government’s annual budget will be used as mobilization fund for the operation and implementation of the ordinance.

The proposed ordinance encourages municipal governments to allocate at least 10 percent of their annual budget for the implementation of organic agriculture projects.

It also asks barangay governments to initiate their own long-term programs with specific budget allocation from their internal revenue allotment (IRA).

According to the implementing rules and regulation of the proposed code, provincial, city and municipal government must pass ordinances adopting the National Organic Agricultural Program.

The organic agriculture program, Pepito added, must be the strategy to address concerns on food security, environment, health, and wellness and poverty alleviation.

The proposed ordinance rejects the adoption of genetically modified crops developed by agriculture companies.

“Organic agriculture does not co-exist with genetically-modified crops and related organisms, both living and non-living,” Pepito said.

He added that the local government must employ strategies that protect indigenous knowledge relating to organic agriculture and those that recognize the roles of women and small farmers.

He also proposed that the Provincial Agriculture Office regulate the entry of organic inputs in coordination with the Fertilizers and Pesticides Authority (FPA) as to origin, manufacturer, N-P-K (Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorus) analysis and other plant growth elements. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)